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Mother Love’s Humorous Approach To Health

By Sheila Smith

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he will make you laugh and think twice about picking up that fried chicken leg and other things that you shouldn’t be eating. You see, Mother Love has diabetes and lost family members to the disease. The veteran radio talk show host of “The Mother Love Show” on latalkradio.com and CNBC’s weekly program “dLifeTV” was in Denver speaking at a luncheon sponsored by the Center For Women’s Health Research on Oct. 4. Mother Love is a multitalented woman – a humorist, columnist, author, and motivational speaker. The Center for Women’s Health Research was established in 2004, and is based at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Despite medical breakthroughs, critical disparities still exist when it comes to men and women’s health. Today, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. The number one cause of death for African-Americans is heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

The Denver Urban Spectrum took time to talk with Mother Love about these health issues affecting the African-American community: DUS: Having diabetes didn’t stop you. How did you manage your health and turn your life around? Mother Love: I was diagnosed with diabetes in 1990. Like a lot of people who were diagnosed, I thought this can’t be happening to me. I then said ‘I have to do something because I didn’t want to go on insulin or have any body parts cut off.’ The first thing I did was to change my attitude about food, how I prepare food and shop for food. I also learned to be an avid (food) label reader to see what the ingredients were. I came to the conclusion that if I can’t pronounce the stuff, I won’t be eating it. DUS: How hard was it for you to lose family members to diabetes? Mother Love: My youngest sister was only 10 when she was first diagnosed with diabetes. My sister never took ownership of having diabetes. My mother was then diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. And my oldest sister was diagnosed with gestational diabetes when she got pregnant with my niece. My oldest sister, mother, father, and brother all died from heart disease and had diabetes. DUS: Why do you think African Americans tend to neglect their health and not take the necessary precautions? Mother Love: It is such a slow arduous disease, and we don’t see the immediate complications. Many of our people still have this whole Tuskegee

experiment in their heads and have become distrustful of doctors. We feel God will take care of us and should give it to the Lord.. Faith without works is dead. God said your body is a holy temple and if you don’t treat it like that, how dare you think he’ll come at the 11th hour to save you. DUS: What can we do in the African-American community to be more trustful of doctors, and what can those in the medical field do to make people more aware of these health issues and risks? Mother Love: They can get out as much information as they can. People need to know what is going on and how their body works. Especially women, we have to get off this idea of, ‘if I take care of myself then I am neglecting someone else.’ You will be lying in a casket at 29, 39 and 49 years old. And everyone will be saying, ‘Isn’t that a shame; she was so young when she died.’ So we have to take responsibility for our own actions. And it isn’t easy. Every day that I wake up, I know I have this crap. But everyday that I wake up, I have to be mindful of what I have to do, and doing it becomes habit. Now in the state of California, people can take their food stamp card and use it at fast food restaurants. It’s the worst thing ever because they aren’t looking at the nutritional value in their food or lack of nutritional value. This one place sells a salad that has more than 1,800 calories – how do you do that to lettuce?

Denver Urban Spectrum — www.denverurbanspectrum.com – November 2011

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DUS: How do you use your TV show and radio show as formats to talk about these health issues? Mother Love: The “dLife” is specifically designed for people with diabetes and that is the whole focus of the program. We share personal stories and share recipes. My radio program has taken on a life of its own. I wasn’t trying to be the poster child for diabetes. I was trying to keep being Mother Love the relationship guru. DUS: You are a powerful motivational speaker, so has there been any one person who has profoundly affected you? Mother Love: My mother was always a solid influence in my life. She taught me to stand up and speak up for myself, speak up for those who are mistreated, and don’t be afraid to get involved. I learned that at age 16 when a kid died in my lap. He got off on the wrong entrance ramp off the freeway in our neighborhood (in the projects of Cleveland, Ohio) and this is when there was a lot of racial unrest in the 1960s. Someone saw this white kid on a motorcycle and shot him in the back. No one would help him. All I could do is put his head in my lap, and try to get his helmet off. He bled to death in my lap. DUS: You put a lot of humor into your messages regarding health issues. Do you think this has made a difference in people rethinking about living a healthier life? Mother Love: Definitely. First of all, I am real silly. I have been a standup comic for 15 years. But sometimes I cry when I think about my sister and mother, and it does get painful. And I don’t want to talk about it. But I remember my mother tell me, ‘Just be your charming self.’ I also have to have that personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Every day he wakes me up, and when we piss off Satan together, it’s a good day. DUS: What’s next for Mother Love? Mother Love: I am doing a voiceover for a documentary about health. I will be doing an exercise video for seasoned women – where we won’t be jumping up and down, running around, ruining our rotator cup, and getting our hip tore up. I am also working on a cookbook and a new cooking television show called “Cooking with Mother Love.” You see these cooking shows now that are on, and they have every perfect piece of equipment and the perfect stove. Most of us are doing good if we have one sharp knife in the house. This way I can teach people to cook with what they got, and eat healthy with what you got. 

DUS November 2011  
DUS November 2011  

Denver Urban Spectrum November 2011 Issue